Phocea crime scene widens to TongaPosted: August 8, 2012 | |
The Phocea crime scene widens. The vessel was seized in Port Vila last month after ministers of government joined it before it had been cleared by Customs, Immigration and Quarantine. Vanuatu diplomatic passports were being used by personnel of the ship. The purported owner claimed it was placed on the Vanuatu Maritime Authority registry a long time ago.
Tongan police sources, according to Radio New Zealand International (RNZI), say the purported owner joined the ship in Nuku’alofa, along with 10 people who had arrived by plane and five women from Serbia and and the Philippines. In Tonga, a luncheon was hosted for government leaders and MPs. In Port Vila, two ministers and Foreign Affairs personnel joined a party on board, before the vessel’s authorised entry, of which there is photographic evidence.
Tongan authorities do not know how a Tongan involved in the diplomatic passports and citizenship scam in Vanuatu in March managed to get on board. They say nothing of the similarly charged Samoan. One can only assume they were on board all along, possibly the advance guard and security for Pascal Anh Quan Saken, the alleged owner of the ship as per the claimed VMA registry.
In Port Vila, Government continues an ongoing campaign to discredit the head of the Fraud Unit, sacked from the inquiry into the Phocea Fraud. Government has sped to make allegations against the Transnational Crimes inspector, Andrew Kalman, and maintains a blackout over the findings of the successor to Kalman.
Daily Post devotes its front page to the story. Kalman strenuously denies ministerial allegations against him. He denies there was ever a police complaint of his handling of the matter. Kalman, the Ministry claims, deliberately delayed the application for a search warranty enabling Pascal Anh Quan Saken to flee the country. (The captain of the vessel was to have appeared in court tomorrow. It is believed he, too, was allowed to flee.)
The Ministry alleges the sacked head of the Fraud Squad was selling valuable information for money with certain people and businesses in the capital. The Ministry further muddies the waters with allegations against Kalman of law-breaking. The casual observer would like to think the Ministry was policing the Phocea fraud with the same effort as it is chasing its former fraud boss. However, the blackout on the findings, if continuing, against the Phocea remains.
Further visa-less arrivals turned up on an Air Vanuatu ATR flight from Fiji. They claimed to have left their passports behind. A British man and Fijian woman and their child so arrived three days ago. Daily Post says the question arises as to how they could pass Fiji Immigration without their documents? Were they expecting to be given new red Vanuatu diplomatic passports here, one wonders?
Radio Vanuatu News reports the Minister of Lands, Steven Kalsakau, will be visiting Hong Kong this weekend. He will then be signing an electricity concession for West Ambae worth Vt 400 million. The minister’s fraud case seems still to be delayed. It was to have been heard on 1 August.
Vanuatu accountant Robert Agius is to be sentenced today in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia in relation to the Project Wickenby tax fraud investigation. We will post updates as they happen.